An All-Party Parliamentary Group for Scottish Sport met in the Palace of Westminster on Tuesday evening to discuss support to athletes looking to transition to a new career after retirement.
The Group welcomed former international badminton player, Emma Mason, who now holds leadership positions at several international governing bodies, and heard about her experience of retirement from sport and self-directed progression into a new career. Mason is also now a Director of Switch the Play, a social enterprise dedicated to improving the support offered to elite and aspiring athletes as they transition to a life outside and beyond sport.
The Parliamentary Scottish Sport Group is open to all organisations with an interest in Scottish sport to join. It meets regularly while Parliament is sitting to promote the good work of sports in Scotland, and help to challenge issues that sport faces across the country.
Speaking after the meeting, Group Chair and Member of Parliament for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, Gavin Newlands MP, said “it was a pleasure to welcome Emma Mason to Parliament, and hear about her experiences upon retirement from elite sport.
“Athletes face a number of challenges following their retirement from sport, including suffering from mental health problems, financial woes and a loss of focus and identity.
“It is vital that we improve the support that is offered to professional athletes, to ensure that they can smoothly transition to life outside of sport at the end of their careers.
“The Parliamentary Scottish Sport Group looks forward to continuing to work with athletes, clubs, governing bodies, and other organisations such as Switch the Play, to ensure that athletes are provided with access to personalised, tailored and bespoke support to allow them to enjoy success outside of sport.”
Emma Mason added “it was an honour to meet with Members of the Parliamentary Scottish Sport Group, discuss my own experiences and also the challenges that face athletes more broadly at the end of their careers.
“Much more can be done to ensure that athletes are equipped to prepare for and manage this transition, and hope that we will see greater support, alignment and investment into this area for all athletes across all sports in the future.”
Main Photo: Gavin Newlands MP, Alan Brown MP, Ronnie Cowan MP, Hannah Bardell MP, Alison Thewliss MP with Emma Mason